In what must be a blow to Irish aviation, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific has said it will suspend its Dublin route from November.

It means that Ireland will lose all three direct links to Asia now that Hainan Airlines has been cancelling services to Beijing and Shenzen (note: Shenzen was cancelled after our piece was published).

China’s Hainan Airlines to axe Dublin and Edinburgh?

Cathay Pacific says it will suspend its four times weekly Dublin to Hong Kong service between November 7 and March 29, 2020.

The news comes one day after we revealed that Cathay Pacific was having to make capacity cuts following a decline in visitors to Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific planning capacity cuts

In a statement to Irish media, Cathay Pacific said that it had decided to temporarily suspend the Dublin route following a “careful review of the current business environment.”

It continued: “We are confident in the long term prospect and strength of the traffic between Ireland, Hong Kong and the rest of Asia.”

Because Belfast has no long-haul scheduled services at all it means Ireland will lose all non-stop service to Asia.

Irish travellers have the option of routing via points in the UK and mainland Europe or the Gulf.

It must be noted that Cathay Pacific is a sixth-freedom airline. A good number of Irish travellers would have used this airline to route via Hong Kong to points in mainland China, elsewhere in Asia and Australasia.

The fact that Cathay Pacific feels the need to cut the Dublin route (knowing it now faces no direct competition from any other airline) shows the seriousness of the situation.

The route is being cancelled a matter of weeks before the peak season for travel between Europe, Asia and Australasia.